Speaker enforces censure stipulation

ST. PAUL (AP) — House Speaker Irv Anderson said Tuesday that he has stripped Rep. Jeff Bertram of his leadership posts because Bertram has refused to resign and has ignored an order to undergo anger counseling.
The Minnesota House voted March 22 to censure the Paynesville DFL representative for harassing, intimidating and spreading rumors about constituents. The House also voted that Bertram should resign as chairman of the business regulation division of the House Commerce Committee, vice chairman of the House Education Committee and member of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement.
“Since I have received no formal resignation letter from you, I am using my authority as speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives to enforce the censure resolution,” said Anderson, DFL-International Falls, in a Thursday letter to Bertram that was released Tuesday.
Bertram could not be immediately reached for comment.
In his letter, Anderson also reminded Bertram of the provision in the House’s censure resolution requiring him to submit to anger counseling, and to report that he has done so to the speaker and to the House Ethics Committee chairpersons.
“I would appreciate your taking action on this stipulation as soon as possible,” Anderson wrote.
Rep. Charlie Weaver, the Independent-Republican who led the ethics complaint against Bertram during the 1996 legislative session, said he wasn’t surprised that Bertram had not resigned.
“He didn’t apologize like he was supposed to,” Weaver said Tuesday. “We shouldn’t be surprised that he hasn’t done anything that he was supposed to.
“This just verifies that he should have been expelled, because he clearly is showing a contempt for the whole system,” Weaver said.
Bertram survived a vote to expel him, with Republicans voting to remove him and most Democrats voting to keep him.